A recent study discovered that 70% of small to mid-size businesses claim communication is their primary problem. A business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communications. This translates in an annual cost of $528,443.00. Could this be your reality?
What can be done about improving communication, and how to get those wasted dollars back and reinvested in our other areas of your business, your division, or department?
Communication is where it all starts. The importance of open communication, simply, cannot be overstated as it is fundamental in building trust, managing conflict, gaining commitment, maintaining accountability, and identifying team results.
Much has been said and written about clear and concise communication. Much has been said about listening carefully. What if you are doing all of that but you still are having problems with your communication?
We know that our message is affected by several things such as our personalities, our experiences, and our current mood. Well the same holds true for our listener—the receiver of the information. We can be clear in our communication and try to actively listen but there could be yet other obstacles to the two way communication. We would could those obstacles filters on our part as well as the listener’s filters.
To communicate successfully, it is important to decipher the listener’s filters. Without knowing a person closely, you will rarely understand his or her previous experiences. It is easier to pick up on a listener’s mood by looking at body language and facial expressions as well as listening to tone of voice.
There are assessment tools such as the DISC assessment that help us understand. Even without the assessment you can understand people by their behaviors and modify your communication to reach them. Let’s take some examples.
D - A person who is more apt to be decisive, outspoken, a result-oriented leader and a quick problem solver – Get to the point quickly. Say something like “I know that your time is valuable, so I will just take a moment to show you a great way to improve your bottom line.”
I - An individual who is friendly, outgoing, talkative, optimistic, the life of the party, and people oriented – be casual, friendly, show them how they will increase their social influence, be upbeat and inspiring. Make them feel good.
S - An individual who is a team player, stable, consistent, maintains the status quo, is a peacemaker, is family oriented, and patient – Be sincere, be informal and emphasize harmony and steadiness. Show that you have systems in place to protect and reassure.
C - Someone who is more logical, organized, data driven, methodical, focused on perfectionism, and detail oriented – Be prepared to back up what you say and show your track record. Be able to make them feel like the expert by seeking their opinion.
Now this is just a short summary, but my point is that understanding how to decipher people’s filters by understanding their behavior can create more effective communication between you and your listener.
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